Jean Michel Jarre

French composer and producer Jean Michel Jarre (1948- ) was born in Lyon, France. He is the son of Maurice Jarre (a composer of film music) and France Pejot. Jean Michel Jarre is regarded as one of the pioneers in New Age and electronic music alongside his contemporaries Vangelis, Yanni, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk.

Jean Michel Jarre shot to prominence in 1971 with his album Oxygene. Several best-selling studio albums followed. By 2005 he had sold an estimated 72 million albums and singles

Jean Michel Jarre is best known not for his studio work, but rather his concerts, spectacular events linking music, light and the environment.

A concert on the Place de la Concorde in Paris in 1979 following the release of his second album Equinoxe in 1978 attracted one million people, which was Jarre's first entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest crowd at an outdoor concert. The first of four such entries.

In October 1981, Jean Michel Jarre was the first Western rock performer to be granted permission to give a series of concerts in the People's Republic of China.

In 1986, NASA and the city of Houston invited Jarre to perform a concert to celebrate NASA's 25th anniversary and the city of Houston's 150th anniversary, Rendez-Vous Houston. The Houston concert entered the Guinness Book of Records for the audience of over 1.5 million. In the same year he performed Rendez-vous Lyon in his home town of Lyon.

In 1988, Jarre Performed in London Docklands, in a concert entitled Destination Docklands.

On 14 July 1990 Jean Michel Jarre broke his own record in the Guinness Book of Records with a concert in La Defense, Paris where 2.5 million people attended, Paris La Defense: A City in Concert.

On 6 September 1997, Jarre played in Moscow to celebrate the 850th anniversary of the city. The Moscow State University was used as the backdrop for a spectacular display of image projections, skytrackers and fireworks, with an audience of 3.5 million, Jarre's fourth record for the biggest concert audience ever.

In 1999 he created a spectacular music and light show in the Egyptian desert, near Giza. The show, called The 12 Dreams of the Sun, celebrated the new millennium and 5000 years of civilization in Egypt. The concert offered a preview of his new album Metamorphoses.

In 2001, Jarre performed a concert in collaboration with Arthur C Clarke and Tetsuya Komuro in the Okinawa beaches, to celebrate the 'real' beginning of the new millennium. The concert was called Rendez-vous in Space and the group called itself The ViZitors. Later that year he played at the Acropolis in Greece, Hymn to the Akropolis.

On 10 October 2004, Jean Michel Jarre gave a concert in the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square in China, to commemorate the 'Year of France in China'. The audience comprised about 15,000 spectators, most of them special guests. This concert was broadcast in HDTV with 5.1 sound by some satellite channels. 5.1 sound was also used on the stage. Available on DVD as China.

September 2005, at the invitation of Lech Walesa (Nobel Laurate and co-founder of Solidarnasc), Jean Michel Jarre performed in the semi-derelict shipyard of Gdansk in Poland to commemorate the founding of the free Polish Trade Union Solidarnasc and the subsequent collapse of Communism.

The concert starts with Jarre arriving on stage with shipyard workers playing the intro to 'Shipyard Overture (Industrial Revolution)'. In the shipyard was an estimated 170,000 people.

The concert is available on DVD as Solidarnasc: Live from the Shipyard of Gdansk.

Solidarnasc Live is an absolute must. A special collectors edition includes the CD Live from Gdansk, which had previously been released as a limited edition in Eastern Europe only.

Earlier concerts are available on VHS video.

An asteroid, 4422 Jarre, has been named in his honour.

Music ~ Vangelis ~ Yanni ~ Eric Levi
(c) Keith Parkins 2006 -- March 2006 rev 1